Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries has praised the important role of cathedrals in national life, highlighting the Government's award last year of £20 million for fabric repairs to cathedrals in the First World War Centenary Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund.
He was speaking at the launch of a new book showcasing the Church of England's Cathedrals, today at St Paul's Cathedral.
Cathedrals of the Church of England has been written by Janet Gough, who is the Director of ChurchCare, the Church of England's Cathedrals and Church Buildings division. The book features short descriptions of each cathedral, and is illustrated with photographs including some specially commissioned images by Paul Barker (best known for his photographs over many years for Country Life)*.
Janet Gough said: 'This book was produced to celebrate the funding for cathedral fabric repairs generously provided over the last few years by the Wolfson Foundation and the Pilgrim Trust and the Government's award last year of £20 million for fabric repairs to cathedrals in the First World War Centenary Cathedral Fabric Repair Fund. I've criss-crossed England by train (including Settle to Carlisle in the snow), and visited with the family and dog, and soon I will cycle at least one of the legs on ChurchCare's new cathedrals cycle route. Everywhere I've been struck by the huge activity and energy in our cathedrals today."
"England has no finer treasure than its cathedrals," writes the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, leads bishop for cathedrals and church buildings in the introduction to the book.
"They are not just superb visual aids to understanding architectural history; so much of our social and communal as well as religious history is bound up in them. However, cathedrals are not art galleries or museums but living, breathing buildings which exist to serve God and the communities in which they stand.
"Our cathedrals are a unique and very precious part of our heritage and ongoing national life which this book celebrates wonderfully."
The book is the latest title in Scala's successful Director's Choice series, in which the directors of leading arts or heritage bodies present their personal take on the treasures in their collections.
A range of photos from each cathedral is available on request.
More information on Churchcare.
The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division's Always Welcome initiatives aim to attract more people to visit and enjoy our 42 cathedrals and 16,000 church buildings. Other initiatives include the recent launch of the visitor-facing website, churchdays.org and the Towers & Spires Cycles Tours produced with dioceses and Sustrans as cycle maps linking cathedral cities to other churches to visit in the diocese and mapping local pubs and attractions.'
Cathedrals of the Church of England can be ordered here.